Disclaimer: JKR.


I gripped my broom hard and sent it into a rapid dive, enjoying the feel of the wind in my face. I swooped dangerously close to the ground before pulling back, racing up as fast as I could push my broom. I took one more fast lap around the Quidditch pitch before finally relaxing and taking two slow, leisurely ones to cool down.

I'd come out to the Hogwarts Quidditch pitch to get out my frustration without punching anyone. I had a bad temper and it was well-known, which was why the Weasley twins found it so hilarious to tease me until I snapped. Lately, the jokes had become so common that I was out on the pitch nearly every night long after it was supposed to be closed, trying to hold back the fury that threatened to explode.

"Hey! Angelina!" someone shouted, startling me out of my reverie. I slowly descended, landing my Nimbus 2000 next to Oliver Wood, my Captain. It was his last year here and he was aching for the Cup, so I expected a long talk about keeping my temper so the team had a good bond and how I shouldn't ought to tire myself out the night before a game and bla, bla, bla. I could probably quote him.

"What, Oliver?" I asked defiantly, daring him with my tone to go into his irritating and useless lecture. To my surprise, he bit his lip and looked at the ground, which was not at all like the blustery, loud, pep-talk-giving Captain I knew and loved. I softened my tone. "What is it?"

He looked back at me suddenly, determination in his clear hazel eyes. "So, I heard Fred and George having a laugh at you in the Common Room, and I wanted to say they were being prats. I don't think you're, you know, stuck-up or anything at all. It's cool that you have such good marks, and you'll get further than them." I waited. He seemed rather flustered, and I knew he rambled a bit when he was nervous. "And don't quit the team just because they're like that…"

At this, I snorted. "Oliver, you know better than anyone that I wouldn't quit the team. You and me are the ones who care too much, remember? I expect I'll be Captain next year, I'm not quitting when there's a chance of that!" He gave a brief smile, and I raised my eyebrows. This was more serious than I thought - normally he'd swear he was going to fail his exams on purpose so he could be Captain for another year.

"Well, look, Ange… I just was wanted you to know, you're my best mate. Fred and George are about the only ones who actually think their jokes about you are funny. And by the way, even they don't really think they're right." He looked thunderous. "Fred is practically in love with you, the way he acts!"

I laughed again. "You know he flirts with everyone, he and George both do."

Oliver shrugged. "Well, I'm tempted to kick him off the team. So he doesn't distract you, of course."

It suddenly dawned on me where this was headed. "Um… yeah." I knew that Oliver could read my face like an open book no matter how jittery he was feeling. He'd been able to do that since my second year, when I'd been accepted onto the Quidditch team and we'd met. So it stood to reason that he knew what I knew. And of course I was right - he flushed deeply. It was unnerving to see the stocky boy who was my rock be so unsettled, and I tried to back out of the conversation. It was too late though, and I knew that. "Look, I, uh, have an essay due for McGonagall tomorrow that I ought to get to work on." Oliver knew what I was doing, and he set his mouth in a grim line. Trust Oliver to make this into some big ordeal, I thought.

"Angelina Johnson, I know you could finish that essay five minutes before it's due and get full marks. I'm going to finish this and you're going to listen!" Then he flushed darker. I had a feeling he was realizing that this wasn't a situation where he could be the boss - when I wasn't in Quidditch robes, I was under no obligation to follow his orders. "If you want, that is."

"Alright, I'll listen," I said, laughing softly at how unsure he was. He understood that I wasn't laughing in derision, just to relieve the tension, and he continued.

"So, there's a Hogsmeade weekend coming up," he informed me.

"Yeah, I know, Oliver," I responded, and he glared at me.

"Shut up and let me talk. D'you want to come? With me? As in, you know, not a best mate kind of way?" He almost fainted at the words.

"Oliver," I said gently after a short pause. "Ask Katie, not me. You know how she feels about you… I couldn't do that to her."

Oliver's eyes widened; he'd most likely been sure of a yes. "I know how she feels about me. The same way she felt about George last month, Ange! It's not real, and I don't even… I've told you what I think about dating her!"

I winced. His exact words were something like, 'I wouldn't date her if she were the last bloody Quidditch player in the world.' So much for a strong team bond. "Yeah, you have, and I understand. Then don't ask her. But she's my friend, I can't hurt her by going on a date with you."

Oliver looked at me long and hard, then nodded, understanding as always. "I know. But what about when she changes her mind and fancies someone else? Will you consider it then?"

I looked into his eyes and spoke honestly. "I don't know, Oliver. I'll let you know when that happens, alright?"

He sighed and shifted his weight to his other leg. "Yeah. Okay. Look , let's go back to the Common Room."

My shoulders slumped. I'd messed up the whole thing, and now I would lose my only real friend. This could be a problem - Oliver was the only one I'd ever trusted.

Then, to my relief, Oliver grinned. "Race you back to the castle!"

I laughed. "Absolutely!" As he took off on foot, I jumped on my Nimbus and zoomed away. In the distance I heard him shout, "Cheater!"

"Better believe it!" I yelled into the distance, doubting he could hear me. But he'd know I'd said it. Oliver and I were like that - we knew each other. I often knew what he was going to say before he'd even thought it. He could calm me down before I was even upset. It was just how we were together.

But as I reached the castle and dismounted, hearing his pounding footsteps not too far behind, I sighed deeply. Although I loved him with all my heart, I'd never had any desire to be anything more than what we already were. He was more than a friend, but at the same time, that was because for me, he was a brother. Better than a brother - I had two already, and he was different than they were.

How could I break his heart? But if I accepted his invitation, I would break mine in the process, and eventually his as well anyway. I didn't know what to do.

I just hoped to Merlin Katie could sweep him off his feet, before I let him think he swept me off mine.